Rhythms of Grace #1 Always be Thankful


Many people will think about saying grace before they eat a meal probably just think about it rather than do it.  Saying Grace is expressing gratitude for what we are about to receive.

If you’re a composer you may add ‘grace notes’ to the score.  Though not essential to the melody they are ‘gratuitous’ – these notes add a flourish, their presence will be missed.

As a student you might be granted Grace when missing a deadline for a piece of work.

We may address royalty,  at the level of Duke or Duchess as ‘Your Grace’

I can sign up to a years subscription of a magazine and get one ‘gratis’ ‘free’ by grace

If like me you might have come upon Grace more by it’s opposite

‘You’re a ‘disgrace’ Bradshaw!’ 

Grace is according to Phillip Yancey 

‘Truly our last best word. It contains the essence of the gospel as a drop of water can contain the image of the Sun. The world thirsts for Grace in ways it does not even recognise.’

Definitions of Grace

free sovereign favour to the underserving

love that cares and stoops and rescues

God Reaching down to those who are in rebellion against Him

Unmerited favour of God to sinful people

It’s not the purpose of this series to present a biblical or theological exposition of Grace though in preparation I have wandered if I should!

Rather I just want us to taste grace and my hope is that in the tasting we will be hungry for more and that we will learn to build an appetite for grace.  

Like proper foodies we will want to know more and more about the ingredients of grace, how it works, where it comes from, how the elements of it go together how it is experienced and enjoyed by others in the world and in history 

And all of that will only serve to increase our appetite even more.

The way I am going to do this is to introduce you TO and hopefully get you participating IN Three Rhythms of Grace.

Always Be Thankful

Continuously Receive the Holy Spirit

Remember that God is always at Work

But I do need to lay out a bit of a biblical scene

By Grace – 

God created

God purposed relationship

God revealed himself to individuals Adam Noah Abraham Issac Jacob …

God chose for himself a Nation

God purposed that that nation was to be a light to the Nations

God both disciplined, punished and forgave His people, repeatedly

God gave gifts and skills for tasks he called them to do

God had a plan from the beginning of time that we should know the fullness of His Grace.  Equally  from the beginning of time He knew only His Son could demonstrate and make real and enduring in the lives of women and men

Grace has restored us into a relationship with God and with each other 

Grace means you are for ever declared righteous before God

Grace causes us to be overwhelmed with gratitude

Grace makes it possible for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God

Grace opens our eyes to the continuous and perfect and complete work of God.

Grace enables us to walk in the rhythm of God’s Grace.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me ….

And so to our

1st Rhythm of Grace 

– Always Be Thankful

Psalm 100:4-5

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

I will not dwell on it but we must recognise what by Grace we have been saved from.

Grace is essentially the kindness of God revealed in acts of mercy and provision to those who do not deserve it. Without grace there would be no Christians! Grace is best illuminated when set within the context of Wrath – God’s righteous anger at the wickedness.

It is so hard for us to hold together the Grace of God and Wrath of God but we must it we want to fully understand His Grace

Grace is like the Diamond on the black cloth of Wrath!

What we deserve is punishment and condemnation

What we get through Christ is Grace

Paul is clear about our new standing before God

Rom 5:1,2

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

We were in Adam but now we are ‘in Christ’ – Pauls favourite phrase

We inherit all that God has for us ‘in Christ’

We have been given a new nature of righteousness

We have been transferred from Adam and his sinful imperfection into Christ and His perfect righteousness

That is wonderful and incredible

We are new creation no more in condemnation.

Acceptance of the unmerited grace of God releases a person from any obligation to religious laws or law keeping as a means of justification before God.

Christ not only fulfilled the laws demands but he transcended its aspirations.

And his righteousness is imparted, ‘imputed’ to everyone who believes

Rom 4:6

God imputeth righteousness without works, KJV

God credits righteousness apart from works: NIV

putting-everything-right MSG

We have been set free from the law and all its demands and have been made Righteous!!!!

Are you saying Thank You?

Eph 1:7-14 MSG

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! 

He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first instalment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.


In order to Press into a closer walk with Jesus we need to practise the rhythm of thankfulness

Everything else follows this

we keep looking for the key to unlock things but He is the key

Mat 11:28 MSG

Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

If we fix our minds on Jesus he will fix our minds

Col 3:2 – Set your minds on things above

Rom 12:2 – be transformed by the renewing of your mind

Come away with me ……

Did you know that there area couple of places in Scotland that are called ‘Rest and Be Thankful’. They are quite literally named as a place where travellers in olden times would stop, rest and be thankful that they had reached the top of their steep climb, before continuing on to their destination. 

One of these was a road built by soldiers in the mid-18th century and a stone was erected, bearing the words Rest and Be Thankful, as a permanent monument, upon its completion in 1750.

There is presently a car park and a number of wooden viewing benches located at the Rest and Be Thankful, from where the photographs on the relevant parts of this page were taken. There will also occasionally be a snack van present, where limited refreshments of different types may be purchased. It is more than worth taking even ten minutes out of your journey to stop and admire the truly magnificent scenery, to which no photographs can ever do full justice.

Rest and be Thankful

Come away with me.

Sometimes in this place there is work to be done – Roadworks

Jesus is always with us

His name is Immanuel – God with us

never a moment when he is not there

The way that we realise and apply this truth is through thanksgiving

In Matthew 15, Jesus gives thanks for the bread He is about to multiply to feed the hungry crowds. 

In Luke 10, He thanks God that the mysteries of the kingdom of God are hidden from the learned, and are revealed instead to His disciples. 

In John 11, just before raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus thanks God for hearing Him, and says He is praying aloud so that those gathered will believe that He and the Father are one. 

In Luke 22, we come to the institution of the Lord’s Supper, where Jesus thanks God for the bread and the cup, which represent His body and blood.

What do these passages have in common? What is Jesus thanking God for in each of them? In a word, communion. Jesus gives thanks for communion between God and man. When Jesus gives thanks, He thanks God for being near to His people—for being not only present, but active in a saving, nourishing, and illuminating way. Food for the hungry. Truth for the disciple. Healing for the dead and dying. The body and blood of Christ for sinners. Jesus thanks God for being near.

The beautiful irony here is that, ultimately, Jesus is thanking the Father for His own incarnation. He would feed the hungry, draw His children near, raise the dead, and deliver us from our sin. He would be with us. He would make Himself known. For this, Jesus thanked His Father. If this is what Jesus gives thanks for, WE SHOULD BE ECSTATIC IN OUR THANKSGIVING?

Consider that when the Son of God gave thanks to the Father, it was for the opportunity to draw near to us and to respond to our deepest needs. The Son of God incarnate is the greatest gift of Grace we’ve ever been given, and Jesus Himself thanks God for this gift. “He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, ‘This is my body, which is given for you’” (Lk 22:19).

You are not forgotten or overlooked by God. You are an object of His affection. When Jesus thanked God, it was because He had drawn near to us. Be of good cheer. You are loved.

If only I read the bible more … better evangelist ….. etc

but more is never enough – link with law

baptism of Jesus happened before he did anything

God wants us to know his presence

presence doesn’t come from performance

You are His – You need to know your position in Christ

It is by practicing the rhythm of thankfulness that we live out our position in Christ.

This is why I keep asking, at every opportunity

‘What are you Thankful for?’

Think about what you have to be thankful for, past present and future.

I am so thankful for being able to go bike packing in the summer, at least for the first day, it ended prematurely and I never got to finish the trip.  I’m thankful that I wasn’t hurt and I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and still have to share my confidence in God’s Grace when I’ve spoken to people about the crash.  And I’m thankful that I will get the opportunity to do it again and this time complete it!  We need to pay attention to the things that we need to be thankful for.

It causes us to look for the evidence of God’s Grace in our lives

The more we see it the more we are thankful

the more we seek to give Thanks the more Grace we see.

So we even need to give thanks for things even before asking for them!

Jesus did that even before he fed the 5,000.  It’s important. Every gospel records this event and every gospel records the detail that Jesus gave thanks

John’s gospel relates how they went looking for Jesus and found him near the place where he had ‘given thanks’ (John 6:23)

John Wimber when praying for sick in hospital used to spend first 15 minutes praying giving thanks to dispel spirit of death and despair

When we openly share what we are thankful for, it opens us up to Jesus and there is an overflow of His Grace flowing to us, in us and through us to those who hear.  And the devil hears it to!

That’s our first Rhythm of Grace – Always Be Thankful

Thoughts and Questions

What are you thankful for?

What can you do to remind yourself to ‘Always Be Thankful’?

Paul’s favourite phrase is that we are now ‘in Christ’ and he was at pains in all his writings (especially in Galatians) to emphasis that the law no longer has power over the believer because of what Christ has accomplished in his death and resurrection.

Where today are the dangers of slipping back into law-keeping to earn favour with God?

Sometimes we don’t feel very thankful.  How can thankfulness help those you know who are struggling

Jesus invites us –

Come away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  Mat 11:28MSG

Share what this has meant for you, what it means right now and what it could mean into the future.

How can we be thankful for the past, present and future?

This entry was posted in Weekly Video Message. Bookmark the permalink.